Take a Virtual Tour of the Andy Warhol Exhibition at the Tate Modern

Not only did Andy Warhol miss out on the inter­net, but the inter­net missed out on Andy Warhol. Sure­ly, these days he would be pro­lif­i­cal­ly post­ing to his Insta­gram and YouTube from home, indulging mul­ti­ple celebri­ty and pop cul­ture obses­sions. Warhol’s Polaroid aes­thet­ic and pio­neer­ing of the self-as-brand helped cre­ate 21st cen­tu­ry online cul­ture. Maybe he was the orig­i­nal “influ­encer,” though Warhol was more of an insti­ga­tor. But he’s become too famil­iar for us to appre­ci­ate his unique­ness, sug­gest Gre­gor Muir and Fion­tán Moran, cura­tors of an exten­sive Tate Mod­ern Warhol exhib­it fea­tur­ing 100 works, which is now only acces­si­ble via the 7‑minute video tour above.

“Every­one owns Warhol” (though few own a Warhol), argue Muir and Moran. “He is one of those rare artists who tran­scends the art world, hav­ing become wide­ly known as one of America’s most famous artists, if not one of America’s most famous Amer­i­cans.

Over time, Warhol became—and still is—a big brand, which is just how he want­ed it.” Warhol showed how indi­vid­ual artists could cir­cum­vent the star-mak­ing sys­tem, cre­ate their own brand­ing, and com­man­deer the cul­ture with man­u­fac­tured fame. He “helped shape a century’s worth of pop cul­ture,” writes Luke Abra­hams at Harper’s Bazaar, “and helped launch the cult of celebri­ty.”

Whether that lega­cy deserves more praise or blame I leave to you to decide. In either case, our posthu­mous judg­ments can­not dimin­ish Warhol’s sin­gu­lar achieve­ments in graph­ic art or his rad­i­cal approach­es to film, pho­tog­ra­phy, and—through his pro­mo­tion of the Vel­vet Under­ground—music. Behind the aloof, eccen­tric per­sona is a per­son­al sto­ry the Tate exhib­it explores as well, through Warhol’s immi­grant and queer iden­ti­ty and his con­cerns with death and reli­gion. Archi­tec­tur­al Digest reports on the addi­tion­al resources the online exhib­it offers:

For vis­i­tors look­ing to dive deep­er into the exhi­bi­tion and the artist dur­ing the lock­down, there’s also the room-by-room exhi­bi­tion guide; arti­cles about Warhol, from an inves­ti­ga­tion into his rela­tion­ship with his moth­er to a per­son­al tale writ­ten by his friend Bob Colachel­lo; a pod­cast about per­sonas; and even how-to videos demon­strat­ing Warhol’s print­mak­ing process. 

Tate dig­i­tal direc­tor Hilary Knight knows there’s no sub­sti­tute for the orig­i­nal, which is maybe an iron­ic idea when it comes to Warhol. “We are not try­ing to repli­cate a muse­um vis­it,” Knight says, but “we can still offer a rich, deep, and inspir­ing expe­ri­ence of Tate online.” Though abbre­vi­at­ed and vir­tu­al, this deep­er dive into Warhol’s life and work does that indeed. Find more detailed on the exhi­bi­tion, and each room, here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Andy Warhol Explains Why He Decid­ed to Give Up Paint­ing & Man­age the Vel­vet Under­ground Instead (1966)

Andy Warhol Demys­ti­fied: Four Videos Explain His Ground­break­ing Art and Its Cul­tur­al Impact

130,000 Pho­tographs by Andy Warhol Are Now Avail­able Online, Cour­tesy of Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty

Lou Reed’s Mix­tape for Andy Warhol Dis­cov­ered by Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty Pro­fes­sor: Fea­tures 12 Pre­vi­ous­ly Unre­leased Songs

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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